Frank: Let’s start with the big news from your firm recently — inking a big funding deal with three financial institutions. So, Alex, what was the strategy behind that?
Alex: When we started the firm in 2016, the partners and I had a goal of being the best public affairs firm in Washington, DC. And frankly, I think we achieved that faster than any of us had anticipated. We’re managing reputational campaigns and advocacy campaigns for some of the biggest brands, some of the biggest business coalitions, and some of the biggest trade associations in the country.
When we started to look at, “Well, what do we want to do for our next 5 years?” We really want to become the best public affairs firm in the country. And we realized that to do that, it’s going to require additional resources, in terms of acquisitions, bringing in new talent, and being able to provide new services. So, we partnered with some really great financial partners led by Semper Fi Partners, and last month announced they’re making a major minority investment in the firm. The other founding partner, Terry Sullivan, and I continue to be the majority owners. Nothing will change on a day-to-day basis. Our clients aren’t going to experience any sort of change in terms of the day-to-day stuff other than, over the long-term, I think we’ll be able to provide even more services and more resources to win their advocacy campaigns.
Frank: When you say more resources, what’s in the works? Are you planning to grow out regionally? Are you planning to establish more offices in different places? I know you started two more offices I think earlier this year. What’s in the works?
Alex: Earlier this year we opened offices in New York and Florida. Those are two obviously very important states in national Democratic and Republican politics. We don’t want to just stop at those two states. But, when we started looking at other states that we could add to our offerings, it became pretty clear that acquisitions made a lot of sense. So, we’re already talking to other firms about joining the Firehouse team. There’s a lot of interest and excitement. … Over the last year, we’ve done work in 46 states, but to really invest in that, I think, makes a lot of sense for us long-term.
We also want to have more offerings, and that could include data and analytics or polling. We don’t do any in-house creative at the time, so I think that’s something that we’ll certainly be looking at as well. I think when you look at the full public affairs offerings– right now we manage a lot of campaigns, we do a lot of the public relations and grassroots work in-house. But, I think there’s a lot more things that a firm of our size, as we look to growth opportunities, can bring in-house to provide even better services for our clients.